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The engineering super star – Bindon Blood Stoney

in Bridges/Dublin/Featured/Fresh/Lighthouses
Offaly Superstars - Lowry and Stoney

In 2019 Shane Lowry from Clara in County Offaly won the British Golf Open and underlined his international sporting superstar status. But Lowry was not the first bearded superstar from Offaly. Bindon Blood Stoney was born in County Offaly in 1828 and he would go on to be an engineering heavyweight – though without getting…

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Grianan of Aileach – How to avoid the nostalgia of authenticity

in Buildings/Featured/Fresh/Prehistoric
Grianan of Aileach, Donegal

Discovering the Grianan of Aileach was a shock. Why had this impressive and beautiful structure failed to knock on the door of my general knowledge? There it curved in front of me, so extraordinarily well preserved. What a mystery! Yet a small amount of research later revealed some of the reasons why this site has…

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The dark side of a cliff – A sense of unfairness at Fair Head

in Featured/Fresh/Geology/Nature/Recent

On my last evening in Ballycastle, I made a desperate attempt to see Murlough Bay, Torr Head, and Fair Head – in that order.  The unexpected beauty of the first two had taken me by surprise, and delayed my arrival at Fair Head car park.  By then, the fading April light was quite dim, and…

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Ballycastle – War, Water, and Wall art

in Featured/Fresh/Ports & Resorts
Ballycastle - marble

Like many other resorts, Ballycastle succeeds to remind people about war.  Whether you are in Carrickfergus or in Cannes, you must call attention to the World Wars.  This is a golden rule. No tourist may be permitted to mentally wander away from the girls in bikinis or sandcastles, when there are trenches and tanks to…

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The monks who were engineers – Nendrum monastic site

in Buildings/Featured/Fresh/Irish Sea/Prehistoric/Recent
Nendrum monastic site - Sun Dial

There are some wonderful Ireland-focused blogs. Perhaps we need an official directory of high-standard personal blogs pertaining to the island. This one is a charm – rmchapple.blogspot.com by archaeologist Robert M Chapple, which contains a wide variety of engaging topics. I certainly will not be trying to compete with someone who keeps a catalogue of Radiocarbon…

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Brighton Beach and Seafront

in Featured/Other Ports/Ports & Resorts

My first impression of Brighton’s famed shore was the dark spectre of what I later learned to be the old West Pier. It sits in the sea like a deserted oil rig, and, unbeknownst of its history I was surprised that such a bleak industrial structure would be allowed distract the views of visitors to…

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Ballynoe Stone Circle

in Featured/Prehistoric

The Ballynoe Stone circle was not built for the selfie-inclined tourist. The site is found on an average Ulster farm, not unlike that where I grew up. The view is less impressive than that from other prehistoric sites. The people whose final remains were interred in this site were not adamant about having an eternal…

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Cannes is a place for happy thoughts

in Featured/Other Ports/Ports & Resorts/Recent
1913 La Croisette, Cannes

I took a carefree August-time stroll down the La Croisette promenade of Cannes.  These are two kilometres of pure laid-back stupor.  A dense assortment of casinos, beach-side restaurants, yachts, every kind of chair, with a sumptuous array of plants and flowers. Cannes feels impermanent, as if it were built in 1920, and my first surprise is that…

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Chester: Can anyone tell me where is the Port?

in Featured/Irish Sea Ports/Ports & Resorts

I have made two quick visits to Chester. It is such a lovely city. Chester Rows, the Roman Walls, the Amphitheatre, Grosvenor Park, and the Canal Basins (and apparently there is even a Zoo!). But there was one thing that I could not find…… the Port! For hundreds of years before the prominence of Liverpool, Chester was…

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